Comments from prisoners and inmates can be heart-wrenching. You will hear a lot of them repenting their mistakes, seeking forgiveness, and just hoping that they can somehow fix the mistakes they have made for a better, brighter future.
Although little can be done to reverse the length of the sentence, correctional facilities in the majority of the states in the US have undertaken programs that help prisoners in their spiritual growth. They offer unique, vital opportunities for personal improvement and allow for counseling, encouragement, worshiping, and Bible teaching to anyone interested.
We wish that choosing between right or wrong was as easy as choosing Kayn or Attrius in a video game but meaningful things in life are seldom that simple. Therefore, the path to improvement can be long and tiresome.
What Prison Ministries Are Doing To Help?
Surprisingly, the ministry is doing wonders to improve the spiritual lives of the prisons and volunteers through teaching. It has raised awareness about how “inmates are also humans” and so they must be treated with respect regardless of their past blunders.
The facilities are also contributing by creating volunteer work. This encourages the inmates to work together, hold discussions, listen to each, and work on their personal growth collectively. External volunteers are allowed to invite and mentor the inmates
Moreover, local churches and religious departments have come forward to help the prison ministry in this regard. The goal is to ensure that the inmates do not feel abandoned and can steer themselves in the right direction through spiritual guidance.
Needless to say, prisoners have the full right to attend religious services in various denominations. This is not only exercised for mainstream religions in America such as Christianity but minor sectors as well. Prisoners are free to practice Buddhism, Islam, and other religions as per their faith.
Only time will tell if these programs are effective. The truth is that there is a high percentage of convicted inmates who revert to bad behavior only years after finishing their sentence. This means that education and guidance programs for prisoners are not very useful after all.
However, it is too early to give up. Legal institutions in the US with the help of religious facilities, educational systems, and medical staff continue to look after the inmates in hopes to pull them out of the disappointing lifestyle.
The programs have now spread to a larger number of states in the country. For example, certain correctional facilities in Texas have introduced special courses for the inmates that help them become spiritually stronger.
Nonetheless, there are some practices that prisons do not allow. Adhering to the restrictions set by the authorities, prisoners are allowed to observe diets, and request prayer mats, rugs, medicine pouches, etc.
Other Reforms Offered To Inmates
States like California and Ohio have launched pilot programs to determine how useful it would be to add blended educations to the reforms offered to inmates. This will include online classroom instructions and courses so that prisoners who are interested in continuing their studies can do so. However, the work is underway because correctional facilities will need to introduce appropriate hardware and software for the programs to function properly.
Moreover, they are also expanding opportunities that can help polish job scoring skills of inmates. It is obvious that they will need to find work as soon as they leave. However, the track record will not be in their favor. In such a scenario, development of marketable job skills becomes even more crucial.
New policies have been introduced for treatment and care of inmates with mental illnesses. The authorities have shared new guidelines on how to provide behavioral therapy and other treatments effectively in correctional settings. Certain legal agencies have also hired professional psychologies to help in developing programs for inmates with special learning needs.
As a part of their efforts to maximize mental and emotional support for the inmates, prisons are now advised to restrict the use of solitary confinement and other restrictive housing. Proper treatments are promised for vulnerable inmate populations such as pregnant women, LGBT inmates, those with serious mental illnesses, as well as juveniles in prison etc.